Apple acquires hydroelectric project near its Prineville, Oregon data center

“Apple has taken over a small hydroelectric project at a Central Oregon site near the company’s new data center in Prineville,” Mike Rogoway reports for OregonLive. “Big data centers like the one Apple has just opened in Prineville use huge volumes of electricity – as much as a small city – to power thousands of computers that hold photos, music and all manner of other digital information.”

The Bulletin newspaper in Bend first reported Apple’s interest in the 45-Mile Hydroelectric Project, which is near Haystack Reservoir, about 20 miles northwest of Prineville,” Rogoway reports. “Prior proposals had described the project as generating 3 to 5 megawatts. That’s enough to power roughly 2,000 to 3,500 homes, but big data centers can exceed 30 megawatts – and really large complexes require significantly more than that. Additionally, plans called for taking the 45-mile project offline when the irrigation canal is shut in the winter months. So Apple’s hydro deal would apparently provide a tiny portion of the company’s electricity requirements.”

Read more in the full article here.

26 Comments

  1. I love this, it reminds me of some of the Anti-M$ jokes, me and my friends would make back in the Dark Ages of the Mid-2000s. We would joke about how we would never ride on a ride located in an M$ owned theme park. As for an Apple owned hydro plant, that I can live with.

    1. Probably be sued because the salmon can’t jump over the dam to get to their traditional breeding grounds and are therefore threatened with extinction.

  2. They’ve bought this for another reason – to power the new apple campus I reckon.

    This will make it totally self sufficient and generate power for Cupertino as well which means apple will get paid to supply the town with power and their tax bill will be heavily reduced too.

      1. Having worked in the power generation industry for 30 years, I can categorically tell you that you have no idea what you are talking about. Any regenerator on the western grid can feed power into the grid and any customer can extract that same amount of power from the grid at any location on the grid, and pay the generator for it. It’s similar to me pouring a bucket of water into a lake and then someone on the other side of the lake taking a bucket of water out.

        Neither does the author know what he’s talking about. That generating facility doesn’t run during the winter because there is no demand for it. Apple’s server farm is a new, constant demand. That facility will now run at capacity year round. Apple will be getting power at roughly $5 per megawatt hour instead of the roughly $80 per megawatt hour it pays now. It’s a very good deal for Apple.

        1. Maybe you never took physics. At the speed of light (at which electricity travels) a few hundred miles is no distance at all. And besides, it’s not the same electrons being taken out that were put in. It’s just an equivalent load. Have you ever heard of the term “Direct Access”? It means that under deregulation, electricity customers can buy their power from any retail electricity supplier. Businesses in California routinely bought their power from Enron in Oregon during the late 1990’s. Oregon had lots of excess cheap hydro power at 1/2 cent per kWh versus PG&E’s average 8 cents per kWh. Enron fed the power into the grid in Oregon and businesses like US Steel took equivalent power from the grid in California. US Steel then received a bill from Enron for that power.

    1. What the hell are you talking about, Oregon is miles away from Cupertino and different states too, there is no way power generated in Oregon us to be wired to Cupertino, the apple campus will have it’s own gas power generating infrastructure

    1. Yes, a real victory for deadbeats who want to graze their cattle for free on public land when almost all the other tenants are paying rent. Apparently, welfare for ranchers is OK. Welfare for people who might need the money isn’t. It’s called the Bureau of Land Management because it’s supposed to manage public lands, not back down in the face of armed thugs. Yesterday the Crimea, tomorrow the American West?

      1. The rancher in question is not a deadbeat. He has irrevocable grazing and water rights established in 1877, before the BLM existed. By rights he should never have paid them a penny. It was only after they blocked his access to his water rights that he stopped paying. Perhaps you enjoy living in a police state where your assets are forfeited at the whim of any petty bureaucrat.

        And just to be really clear, it’s now known that Nevada Congress member Harry Reid’s former personal assistant was in charge at the BLM for this fiasco, and that Reid’s son has a deal with a Chinese energy company to use that land for a solar electricity project with a deadline for beginning construction this year. When this was pointed out in public the BLM suddenly decided it had more urgent business elsewhere. Can you connect the dots?

        1. The United States acquired Nevada in 1848, including all the public lands that formerly belonged to Mexico in succession to the Spanish Crown. When Nevada became a state, the Federal Government retained title to those lands, as it did pretty much everywhere else other than the original 13 states and Texas. Just because the BLM didn’t exist back then doesn’t alter the fact that the United States has owned the land since 1848.

          Adverse possession does not run against the sovereign, so it does not matter whether someone has been grazing and watering his cattle on this public land since 1877. If he doesn’t have a deed, he doesn’t own the property. Until about 20 years ago, the rancher and his predecessors acknowledged that fact by paying rent… just like the other 16,000 BLM tenants who are similarly situated.

          In fact, the ownership of the property has been litigated a number of times since the tenant stopped paying rent and first raised his claim of vested grazing rights. The courts have held against him every time. The seizure of the cattle was pursuant to a judicial order entered after a full hearing.

          After the rancher lost in court, he gathered an armed mob that blocked an interstate highway and threatened to storm a position held by law enforcement officers on active duty. There was no question of the mob’s willingness to use deadly force to steal the cattle that had been lawfully seized under the court order. The officers on the scene and their superiors in Washington were put in the position of either triggering a bloodbath or peacefully acquiescing to locally superior force like the Ukrainian forces did in Crimea. If they had followed the Russian example instead, they would have resisted force with force and accepted the PR consequences.

          So yes, I can connect the dots. We have now essentially told the “sovereign citizen” movement that they can break any law they want and steal any property they covet, as long as they can put together a big enough mob to back law enforcement into a corner. The relevance for an Apple website is that the company doesn’t need to buy electricity–it can just hire mercenaries to steal it from the hydropower project.

          1. Do you understand that grazing and water rights were established legally, and that the original grazing permits were a voluntary allocation of the property based on established water rights? Do you understand that under the law, OWNING water rights, even though you may not own the land, means that you can use those rights for any productive purpose, like grazing cattle?

            Here’s how a very similar situation was decided in court:

            “In a previous court decision, Senior Judge Loren Smith referred to the well-publicized Hage lawsuit as “a drama worthy of a tragic opera with heroic characters.”

            “A federal judge has added $150,000 to the original $4.22 million judgment won by the estate of rancher Wayne Hage in a years-long battle over property rights.

            “The federal government had asked Senior Judge Loren Smith to throw out the judgment. Instead, he increased it.

            “Hage, a leader of the “Sagebrush Rebellion” against federal control of land, was the husband of former Rep. Helen Chenoweth-Hage, R-Idaho. They both died in 2006.

            “The order is the most recent victory in a legal dispute that stretches back to 1991, when Hage filed suit against the government for taking his private property without just compensation.

            “Hage’s 7,000-acre ranch in Nye County, Nev., bordered several allotments in the Toiyabe National Forest on which he built fences, corrals, water facilities and other rangeland improvements for cattle grazing.

            “Tensions began to mount between the rancher and the U.S. Forest Service in the late 1970s, when the agency permitted the introduction of elk to the national forest, resulting in damaged fences and scattered cattle, according to court records.

            “Over the next decade, other incidents aggravated the strain and eventually led to the lawsuit.

            “According to court documents, the Forest Service excluded Hage’s cattle from forage and water in certain allotments, impounded animals that entered those allotments and prevented him from maintaining ditches needed to exercise his water rights.

            “In his legal complaint, Hage claimed the agency had breached its contractual obligations and violated his constitutional rights.

            “During the course of litigation, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims decided the Forest Service could legally prohibit grazing on the allotments without compensating Hage, since grazing permits are licenses and not contracts.

            “As such, the impoundment of cattle was not an unconstitutional taking because the cattle had trespassed on government land, the court said.

            “However, the court ruled that the agency had taken Hage’s water rights, ditch rights-of-way, roads, water facilities and other structures without just compensation and in 2008 ordered the government to pay him $4.22 million.

            “The federal government asked the court to change or set aside the financial compensation, alleging there’s no evidence Hage actually built hundreds of miles of fences, trails, ditches and pipelines on the allotments.

            “Under the law, Hage would qualify for compensation only if he had built the structures, the government said.

            “Because his grazing permits only authorized Hage to maintain the structures, he was not entitled to their full value, the government said.

            “The judge disagreed.

            “In the context of the grazing permits, “maintenance” included placing or construction, he said in the most recent ruling.

            “The government’s argument “cannot be squared with the language of the statute and the reality of range work and construction,” Smith said.

            “In adding more than $150,000 to the award, the judge ruled that his previous decision had mistakenly omitted the value of ditches and pipelines taken by the government.”

        2. I don’t really care how a “similar” case was decided and neither should anyone else. THIS case, with these facts, was decided against THIS rancher years ago by the courts in a series of trials and hearings in which he fully participated.

          What I do care about is whether legal disputes in America are going to be decided under the rule of law or by assembling armed mobs to defy the courts. Clearly, folks who block an interstate highway and post snipers on the overpasses aren’t just trying to recover some cows. They are trying to provoke a massacre to make the United States look bad. If you can’t see that, you might read the part of the Constitution that deals with citizens who levy war against our (or at least my) country.

          1. Yes the rule of law, tell that to all the GM and Chrysler bond holders that were screwed over by the current administration.
            As far as I’m concerned, the good guys won the day and the Feds had to leave with tails (and balls) tucked.

  3. Now that Tim Cook has resolved his issues with green electricity, homosexuals in the workplace, and the types of shareholders he prefers, perhaps he can turn his attention to fixing the IMAP feature in his email app, which has been a FAIL for the five months since Mavericks was released.

    1. While people always target the CEO he’s not in a tactical role. You should really target your desire to Eddie Cue Director of Software and Services. I’d also suggest a bug submitting a bug report.

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